11 Incredible Private Homes Turned Into Hotels
Consider your ideal vacation: Not a lot sounds better than a few days tucked away at a luxurious private villa. Perhaps a weekend at Francis Ford Coppola's historic Italian palazzo? Or a quick trip to Elizabeth Taylor's Mexican hideaway? Once out of the question for those not acquainted with the rich and famous, today many of the world's most historic (and luxurious) homes have opened their doors to guests.
Take, as one example, The Siam in Bankok. The property has been with the Sukosol family since the early '70s, but Connie's Cottage, a suite available to guests who want some potent historic pedigree with their stay, is a century old. The structure itself was floated to it's current location by boat along the Chao Praya River—a whim of Thai socialite Connie Mangskau.
For a state-side stay, there's always Rhode Island's The Chanler at Cliff Walk, which was built in 1865 as a summer abode for a New York congressman. The some 20 rooms have played host to Teddy Roosevelt and World War II naval officers, before falling into disrepair in the midcentury. Since 2003, it's been a luxury boutique hotel with the fireplaces and heart-stuttering views befitting its history.
Read on for 11 of the best private residences where you can now rest your head. You're going to feel right at home.
Originally built in 1892, Palazzo Margherita was purchased by Francis Ford Coppola in 2004. Located in Bernalda, a small town in southern Italy (and birthplace of Coppola's grandfather Agostino), the palazzo has been completely restored and impeccably decorated with the help of French designer Jacques Grange. Prior to its public opening, Palazzo Margherita was a family vacation home and even served as the location for Sofia Coppola's 2011 wedding. While all the rooms are elegantly appointed, the palatial Francis suite and the serene Sofia room are two of the best in the house.
Il Convento di Santa Maria di Constantinopoli
Il Convento di Santa Maria di Constantinopoli
Don't bother searching for a website for this unique Puglian property in the tiny town of Diso: A converted 15th-century convent, Il Convento di Santa Maria di Constantinopoli is delightfully off the grid. Home to Athena McAlpine, the wife and widow of Lord Alistair McAlpine, the property houses the couple's extensive and meticulously curated collection of African and southeast Asian art, artifacts, and textiles. Now, the colorful, treasure-filled abode has been opened up to in-the-know guests. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to book one of the eight guest rooms.
For a dose of old Hollywood glamour, head to the recently opened Casa Kimberly in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Composed of two adjacent casitas that formerly belonged to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, the homes have been renovated and opened as a nine-suite boutique hotel by hotelier Janice Chatterton (known for nearby property Hacienda San Angel). Taylor fans can even sleep in her former bedroom, which still includes, among other pieces, her pink marble, heart-shaped bathtub.
Built in 1909 by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, this Newport, Rhode Island mansion has been restored to its original turn-of-the-century grandeur. Now, the Vanderbilt Grace offers 33 rooms and an on-site spa and is just a few minutes' walk from the town's popular waterfront.
For a serious history lesson, head to western Ireland (County Mayo to be specific) and the expansive Ashford Castle. Founded in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family, the property changed hands several times before being purchased by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness in 1852. The castle remained in the Guinness family for several generations before they sold it in 1939 to Noel Huggard, who established it as a hotel. Now owned by high-end hospitality group Red Carnation Hotels, it has undergone a full renovation and boasts luxurious suites and a host of activity offerings on the sizable grounds.
Stockholm's Ett Hem stands out for its impeccable design aesthetic (you wouldn't expect anything less from a Scandinavian brand). Built as a private residence in 1910, the hotel has maintained the traditional Arts and Crafts style of the building while adding modern touches to the furniture and art at the hand of interior designer Ilse Crawford. The result? A beautiful, inviting space where guests feel right at home lounging on a sofaopening a bottle of wine in the courtyard garden. The location in a tranquil, residential neighborhood of the city certainly doesn't hurt, either.
The land that houses Bangkok's The Siam has been in the Sukosol family since 1973. And though the property, situated along the Chao Praya River, has a storied history of its own, the most notable aspect of the modern hotel is one of its rooms: Connie's Cottage. A historic, century-old house that was brought by boat down the river by Thai social scion Connie Mangskau and silk merchant Jim Thompson, the house has now been renovated and serves as a unique suite within the hotel's offerings.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk
Built as a summer home for New York congressman John Winthrop Chanler in 1865, Newport, Rhode Island's The Chanler at Cliff Walk has a long and complex history. After playing host to a variety of guests, from Henry Wadsworth to President Theodore Roosevelt, under congressman Chanler's ownership, the property changed hands several times. It operated as an apartment building for Naval officers during WWII and then a hotel shortly thereafter, but the building fell into disrepair; it wasn't until 2003 that the mansion was finally renovated to its original state (complete with authentic furnishings and art) and opened as the 20-room luxury hotel that it is today.
The Ivy Hotel
The building that houses the Ivy Hotel, Maryland's only Relais & Chateaux hotel, was originally commissioned in 1889 by Baltimore banker and industrialist John Gilman. Over the years, it has been owned by inventor William Painter (who holds over 100 patents), a Canadian physician, and the Baltimore Parks and Recreation department (who used the space to house visiting dignitaries). Finally restored, it reopened in the summer of 2015 as a boutique hotel, boasting original leaded glass windows and carved wainscoting, plus 23 individual fireplaces to cozy up to during winter.
Inkaterra La Casona
One of the first Spanish constructions in Cusco, Peru, the 16th-century mansion that now houses Inkaterra La Casona is actually a national monument. Originally inhabited by the first conquistadors and their descendants, the 11-suite home has maintained much of its original design and architecture—like colonial furniture and original murals—while adding modern comforts (think heated floors, oversized bathtubs, and down duvets).
Dating as far back as the 1500s, Il Palazzetto in Rome has been the longtime retreat of noble Roman families. Abandoned in the 1980s, the building was rediscovered by Bernardo Bertolucci, who chose it as the setting for his film The Siege in 1998. The following year, it was purchased and became sister hotel to the famed Hassler Roma, located just steps away across the piazza. Today, guests of the four rooms will find historic touches like original, multi-colored, marble flooring. Perhaps the best part? Incredible views of the iconic Spanish Steps.